In the Center of Worship: Dr.Todd F. Stearns ’88

Kathy Dean Fall 2013

There is a moment during the church service when Todd Stearns is at the center of sound. The 120-voice choir and full orchestra of First Baptist Church of Naples, FL are behind him and 2,000 worshippers are in front of him. It is the moment when his hand is raised, directing the music, directing the worship. In the midst of overwhelming sound, of voices raised in praise, Todd is alone with his Creator. It is a moment of pure joy and adoration, a time that Todd and the congregation he serves enter into the presence of Almighty God through personal surrender, praise and thanksgiving. It is a moment when, together, each person stands alone before God and surrenders to Him.

That is what it means to be a worship pastor – to stand before God’s people and be used by Him to design and lead worship that touches the heart and helps people touch the face of God. As associate pastor for worship and music, Todd’s desire is simple. He wants to be the best worship and music pastor he can be. He knows that accomplishing his goal takes hard work and discipline. It’s a lesson he learned as a student majoring in music and vocal performance at the University of Mobile, traveling with a special ministries team presenting music and drama to churches and civic organizations throughout the nation. He practiced, studied and learned from faculty and staff who mentored him in faith and life. The academic program prepared him for seminary where he completed master of divinity and doctor of ministry degrees.

With Sonya, his wife and 1989 UMobile graduate, teaching English in the church’s school and leading the school choir and worship team, Todd sees his years at UMobile as a blessing in his own life. It is a blessing he knows future students will receive as well, through a Center for Performing Arts program that is second to none. Today, Todd leads worship and music at a church with 8,700 members. As the sound swells, the voices combine with the orchestra and fill the auditorium, Todd stands in the center of worship. He realizes yet again how truly humbling it is to stand before God’s people and help them meet with the Lord and worship Him in spirit and in truth.

About the Author
Kathy Dean

Kathy Dean

Kathy is an award-winning media relations director and former journalist whose expertise has enabled the University of Mobile to gain national and regional attention. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Auburn University and worked as a journalist for 12 years, including 10 years at the Mobile Press-Register, earning regional and national awards for coverage of education, deadline reporting and feature writing. She joined the University of Mobile staff in 1993, earning awards for writing and public relations including the Baptist Communicators Association grand prize for feature writing in 2015 and 2012. She is a charter member of Providence United Methodist Church, serves on the board of the John Will Scholarship Foundation, and is a member of the Public Relations Council of Alabama, Baptist Communicators Association, and Society of Professional Journalists. Kathy lives in Daphne with her husband, Chuck, who earned his M.B.A. from the University of Mobile. They have two children and two grandchildren.